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and vital core of color in the east building of the national gallery of art. ( music ) ( music ) narrator: thomas moran embarked on his first trip to the west in 1871. the united states at the time was still recovering from the ravages of the civil war. americans turned with hope to the western frontier. by painting the pristine grandeur of these remote places, moran enabled 19th-century americans to visualize a magnificent landscape most would never see. his paintings transformed their perceptions of the west. from 1867 to 1879, the united states government sponsored four western expeditions, now known as "the great surveys." of all the aists who accompanied them, none is more associated with the surveys than thomas moran. the watercolors he brought back from wyoming, the first color images of yellowstone, played a key role in the creation of the national parks system. yellowstone had long been familiar to american indians, mountainmen, traders and travelers. legendary, seemingly unbelievable stories made their way east. the canyon was said to be a "fearful chasm," the river a "frightful
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